- Creates the web pages of all Presbyterian mission co-workers.
- Runs a mission speakers service.
- Publishes dozens of missionary newsletters every month.
- Helps churches connect to Presbyterian mission co-workers. Download a congregational pledge form
- Is a program of Presbyterian World Mission.
Find a mission worker
Presbyterian missionaries are teachers, church planters, doctors, public health specialists, chaplains and human rights advocates. They teach theology, church history, Greek, Hebrew and English. They preach and evangelize. They organize and host mission teams from the United States. They accompany, they listen, they work in partnership with the Body of Christ in 71 countries. Find a mission worker now.
Contact Mission Connections staff
A letter from Jo Ella Holman serving as Regional Liaison for the Caribbean region, based in the Dominican Republic
Advent 2014 - God, Take Control!
"Dios, toma el control!"
How many times have I heard this phrase uttered in Caribbean prayers, whether in Spanish, French, Creole or English: "God, take control!"—of this situation, of this weather, of this grief, of this necessity.
In the community where I live in the Dominican Republic, I buy food at a local produce stand. The family that owns this small business sends their two sons twice a week to the big outdoor market in the capital for fresh fruit and vegetables. So Mondays and Thursdays are the best days for the largest selection. I have my list ready and join my neighbors in line to be helped.
The lady at the counter has three tubers of yucca, two plantains, a small onion and a packet of two tablespoons of cooking oil. The next woman buys one tablespoon of butter, which the son cuts off from the stick kept in the refrigerator and carefully wraps it in a small square of paper. Who knew oil and butter could be sold by the tablespoon?Continue reading
A letter from Bob and Kristi Rice serving in Congo
Christmas 2014 - God is for us!
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14).
According to Greek philosophers of John’s day, the Logos or Word was the essence of all creative elements in the universe. This “Word,” declares John, made his dwelling among us. The incarnation of Christ tells a tale too good to believe, yet true to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. As God came to tabernacle among us, God shows partiality toward the overlooked and marginalized. Jesus spent most of his time with humble fishermen and forgiven tax collectors. He welcomed women. He embraced children. He proclaimed a kingdom beyond all expectation. The world eventually woke up, and continues to awaken, to the reality and to the severity of Jesus’ personhood and of His Godhood.
The continent of Africa weaves its way into his story. Refugees and parents of the infant Jesus, Joseph and Mary flee there. Simon of Cyrene, an innocent bystander, is recruited to carry Jesus’ cross. Phillip baptizes in Jesus’ name a eunuch and court official of Candace of the Ethiopians. Augustin, a Christ-follower and the most influential Early Church father, hails from Hippo in North Africa. Yet as history wags its long tail, we find the gross stigmatization of African peoples. Notions of superiority and “enlightenment” erect a Western cultural wall of hegemony and exploitation that plagues Africa to this day.Continue reading
A letter from Sharon Kandel on Interpretation Assignment prior to service in South Sudan
October 2014 - Counting Down to December
Greetings to everyone!
The count down is almost over! We are hoping to leave the first week of December!
This has been a busy summer. Orientation, where 10 of us got to know each other very well and will have a connection with the rest of our lives. We were amazed at the life stories of these other mission co-workers. Language training: we were not sure what to expect but were impressed by the program and were pleasantly surprised to learn that we are NOT too old to learn a new language or to hear subtle differences in pronunciations! Here is a surprise that we learned in language training—both Lynn and I are introverts! I know that will be a surprise to many of you. J Trauma-healing training that taught us things to identify as trauma behavior and how to listen to people. We would recommend the trauma-healing course to anyone! Speaking—I have always said I can talk in front of people for any amount of time and I have sure been given the chance to prove that!Continue reading
A letter from Mary Nebelsick in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from the Philippines
late summer 2014 - a visit to rich hill
Paul and I are happy to tell you that we are back home in Louisville, Kentucky, and are looking forward to seeing you all again. It has been a wonderful homecoming. We thank you, again, for your prayers and financial gifts that make our ministry in the Philippines possible. We are excited about visiting you to tell you about the work we do with the vibrant Christian churches in the Philippines and the theological educators of Southeast Asia. Your prayers and gifts to our work ensure that faithful Christian communities, such as those of the Philippines as well as of Myanmar, Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia survive and grow. Through you we have touched many lives and have strengthened the life of faith among our fellow Christian brothers and sisters all over Asia.Continue reading
A letter from Ellen Smith serving in Germany/Russia
october 2014 - a powerful witness
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!
After many weeks on the road, I am finally able to pause and reconnect. I have a lot of catching up to do.
Our summer was intense to say the least. All three of us were in Russia for the month of July so that we could support the many groups that visited in spite of the media coverage of the Ukrainian crisis. We stayed in communication with both sides throughout the spring, and thankfully the U.S. teams trusted the reports we sent and came ahead. It was a powerful witness to the Russian partners of trust and steadfastness in the relationship even in troubled times. Without exception, the teams had wonderful visits with their partners.
At one point during the summer we were outnumbered by teams. Emma was with one team in the city of Oryol, Al was with another team between Moscow and Rzhev, and I was left with two teams heading in very different directions. We enlisted support from two young women: Hart, an American from one of the sister churches who has lived and worked in Russia for the last two years, and Ksenia, a Russian friend, fluent in English. With each of them in one of the two locations, I was able to move between them and spend time with both teams.Continue reading
A letter from Mary Nebelsick in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from the Philippines
late fall 2014 - central church, louisville
We are having a great time visiting the churches in the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. Our visits to churches have taken us from the East End to downtown Louisville and Central Presbyterian Church. Central Presbyterian Church's stately Greek Revival Façade houses a church full of wonderfully caring people. The pastors Mark Baridon and Ann Deibert have fostered a vibrant community that combines social justice with warmth, humor and serious, well-planned, caring ministry. We spoke at the adult Sunday School class to members whose knowledge of world concerns reflected a deep engagement with the worldwide church. Their concern for justice, both here in Louisville and in the world, was reflected in their valiant commitment to the ideals fostered by the Old Testament prophets and the reflected in Jesus’ statement in Matthew 25, “What you have done to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done to me.” Commitment to this vision of a truly Christian world guides Central Presbyterian Church and we feel privileged to have been embraced by it.
A letter from Amy Davisson Galetzka serving in Thailand
Dear Family and Friends,
Well, it’s been a while! I am constantly feeling "behind," including not communicating as often as I would like to those who are a huge personal, professional, spiritual, financial and complete support to me. If that has in any way been a disappointment to anyone reading this, I do apologize. I am thankful for the huge blessing of support and the partnership with you.
It’s been so long that I need to do a summary of the last few months of 2013!!
A letter from Mary Nebelsick in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from the Philippines
Early Fall 2014 - One in Faith and Mission
Where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be there.
After visiting Rich Hill, Missouri, we continued our westward journey to Ponca City, Oklahoma. The terrain of Oklahoma inspired my imagination with visions of horseback-riding ranchers and dedicated oilmen. We travelled on the famous Route 66 that inspired both the Song “Route 66” sung by Nat King Cole and the Phillips 66 Oil Company name and logo. When we arrived in Ponca City we experienced the Oklahoma wind firsthand. It rushed down the streets and recalled the rushing wind of Pentecost that heralded the coming of the Holy Spirit to the faithful disciples.
This faithfulness to God’s mission was evident in First Presbyterian Church, Ponca City. The Mission Committee was dedicated to the mission of the Presbyterian Church both in their hometown and abroad. During our meeting with the Mission Committee we spoke about the miracles that we had seen as a result of faith in Jesus Christ. One of these miracles directly reflects the miracle of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that allows people of all languages to worship together in spite of language barriers. The language of God’s love transcends every barrier.Continue reading
A letter from Judy Chan serving in Hong Kong
september 2014 - people of faith
In a children’s I.Q. quiz book in Hong Kong I once read a joke: “What’s the difference between Christians and Catholics?” When you turn the page, here’s the answer: “I don’t know. You have to ask God.” I laughed loudly. To get the joke, you need to know that the Chinese name for Protestants is translated as “Christians” while those in communion with Rome are called “Catholics.” This creates an unfortunate situation in which Protestants and Catholics in Hong Kong are thought to belong to two different religions. “Are you Christian or Catholic?” is still a common question when trying to find out one’s religious affiliation.
The reasons for the divide are complex but go back to early missionary history and the different translations for the name of God. The Catholic Church chose Tianzhu, literally meaning "Lord of heaven," which was considered more in line with Confucian thinking. The Protestant missionaries who came later preferred to use the older Shangdi, which literally means "The Emperor from Above." This divide in names for God and the Christian faith explains how the five officially recognized religions in China are named as Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestant Christianity and Catholicism.Continue reading
A letter from Ingrid Reneau Walls serving in Ghana
Dancing with/in the Comforter in Akropong, Ghana
And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (Helper), that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth… ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless… (John 14:16-17).
Even when expected and necessary, change is not easy because inevitably it means loss, and gain(s) too. Unfortunately, the gain(s) are not as readily discerned as the loss because they usually come as we embrace shalom within the loss. Mission reassignment from serving in South Sudan to Akropong, Ghana, has been a languishing change for me because my heart had embraced the unique people and place of the South Sudanese and South Sudan. Unique because they are the “salt of the earth,” whose needs are dire, even as opportunities for transformation are a constant. The merciful, graceful presence of Almighty Jah makes daily living possible, manageable, and, yes, joyful, despite the ever-present conflicts and loss of lives that are, also, a constant reality
A letter from John McCall serving in Taiwan
Autumn 2014 - Surprised by Joy
A number of years ago one of my aboriginal seminary students at the time asked me if I could go with him to visit a young man from his tribe who had been in a serious motorcycle accident. After preaching on a Sunday morning, my student picked me up and took me to the Veterans Hospital in northern Taipei. When we arrived and went to this young man’s room, his bed was empty. We later found him in a wheelchair in a park in front of the hospital under a big tree surrounded by his family and about 25 folks from his home village. They had come that day to encourage him and to pray with him. He is paralyzed from the waist down. I heard his story, and we then sang aboriginal praise songs with the members of his church who had gathered there at the hospital. I then prayed for this young man, whose name is Nga-yau, that God would use him to be a blessing to others.
Last year I was speaking at a presbytery training event for this same aboriginal tribe and met a pastor’s son who was undergoing chemo for aggressive leukemia. He asked me to pray for him, which I did, and then told him that I would put his name in my Bible and would pray for him each day.Continue reading
A letter from Paul Matheny and Mary Nebelsick in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from the Philippines
fall 2014 - "Jesus loves me, this I know"
Paul and I are blessed to be here in Louisville, Kentucky, during our interpretation assignment. We are truly grateful that your continued prayers and financial gifts have made our stay here possible. We are staying in a lovely apartment at the Furlough Home on the Louisville Seminary campus. I grew up on the hill opposite the seminary campus, so this homecoming has been a bit nostalgic. When anyone visits I take them to my former haunts and tell them things like, “This is my beloved Belknap Elementary School and this is Gardencourt, where I took ballet lessons.”Continue reading
A letter from Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer serving in Guatemala
October 2014 - Progress Step by Step
Imagine your heart pulling you out of bed at 2 a.m. to ride a bus along rough, winding, mountainous roads to visit and support women in the Guatemalan Presbyterian churches. This is the life of the Directiva of the Sinodica (the leadership team of the organization of Presbyterian women in Guatemala) who choose to be in a leadership role. These leaders sign up for much time away from their families. Enma, the Moderator and the youngest of the leaders, has three young children and is a pastor’s wife. As in the United States, it’s important to encourage leadership in younger women. Enma has taken on her role with commitment and passion and says that God has called her to serve, share, and help the women. When asked why she feels called to serve, her response is this: “It come from my heart.”
Recently we joined the leaders on a visit to a small town called Cubulco in an Achi Maya community in an isolated mountain agricultural valley in the north and directly in the center of the country. On the long bus ride we enjoyed seeing the sights and terrain of this beautiful country.
It was a perfect day for a drive, and a long one it was. We had a potluck picnic in one small village square, sharing chicken, tortillas, and fresh cheese. Another stop was a roadside fruit stand where we sampled sweet juicy melon and pineapple. We hopped into the van with a fruit new to us—rumbatan. We sang songs, took naps, and there was a lot of chatter among the women (and Brian). We arrived at our destination 11 hours later to support a newly formed presbytery.Continue reading
A letter from Nancy McGaughey in South Sudan
november 2014 - overcoming
“All the world is filled with suffering. It is also filled with overcoming.” Helen Keller
“Bible, Three, Nancy,” the only three words I understood during an announcement at church recently. I wondered what it was about, then just forgot about it until greeting people after church. The Murle have a custom of filing out of church, going down the line, and greeting each person. During that time at least three women repeated those words (among others I didn’t understand) as they greeted me. Taking the third one by her hand, I went in search of an English speaker. “You are the ‘preacher’ for the Women’s Group this week. It is Tuesday at 3 p.m.,” he told me. Typical South Sudanese fashion, no checking to see if you are available, just making the announcement. “Ok, I will do it, but they must get a translator,” I told them
A letter from Cindy Corell in Haiti
november 2014 - advocacy needed now
When she stood to speak to the people gathering in the yard at the home in Northeast Haiti, Catherine McCollough said she would need the bandana she held in her hands. Sure enough, just a few words in, she was wiping away tears.
Catherine and two others from the Presbytery of the Peaks and two members of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, East Lansing, Mich., had traveled to meet these landless farms in Trou du Nord.
One by one, the farmers of the area stood and told stories of being shoved off the land where they’d built homes and gardens. They talked about threats of violence if they didn’t leave.
They told of fruit trees in front yards crushed with heavy machinery, of gardens and outhouses plowed under. The fear in their eyes was palpable. We, the American guests, shifted nervously and watched the gate of the home where we met.
And while the Haitian farmers, young and old, told their stories, we wept.Continue reading
A letter from Cindy Corell in Haiti
october 2014 - languages beyond words
You probably don’t think about language much. Most of us learn to speak English from our earliest words. And even if we learn another language, we might not use it often.
Studying Haitian Creole in midlife has been a challenge for me, but I needed it to communicate with people in Haiti, so I dug in. Creole classes off and on over three years set a good foundation for more intensive lessons in 2013, when I moved to Port-au-Prince as a mission co-worker. By October 2014 I was making good progress.
All of this made spending a couple of weeks in Latin America even tougher.
I traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador, in mid-October to attend a Training the Trainers course in Community Healthy and Evangelism, along with more than a dozen other PC(USA) mission co-workers, and then a second week for the Gathering of mission staff from all over Latin America and the Caribbean.
And the language spoken by most of these wonderful people—as well as our hosts at the conference center where we stayed—is Spanish. So my fledgling, want-to-speak-Creole brain was bombarded by yet another language. When someone greeted me with "hola," I responded, "bonjou."Continue reading
A letter from Richard and Debbie Welch serving in Guatemala
Fall 2014 - Forging a New Partnership
Charu wankat (roughly that means "hello" in the Q'eqchí Mayan language), Friends and Partners in Mission,
We have a story for you…
“When we first arrive in these villages, many of the women are frightened and suspicious of us. But after many times, over several visits, we get to know one another and they begin to see that they can have a place in the ministry of the church.” These were the words of a young indigenous woman named Norma Ico. Norma is one of the leaders of the Presbiterial (woman’s association) of the Polochic Q’eqchí Presbytery in North Central Guatemala. She was sharing with a visiting delegation from their U.S. partner presbytery, the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest.
Norma told about young indigenous women who travel two by two to remote and isolated villages with limited resources and not much more than basic theological training. This would be a daunting task for anyone, but for these women there are additional challenges for their safety as well as their ability to be accepted into close-knit and suspicious mountain communities. But still they go. They find their way to these places and do what they can to connect with women in situations of remoteness and poverty that make them marginalized among the most marginalized people in the country. And they’re making an impact.Continue reading
A letter from Tom and Judy Harvey serving in England
Thanksgiving 2014 - Family Matters
Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when families gather to celebrate God’s good provision and the birth of Christ. Naturally this can get a bit complicated with mission families spread as we are around the world, but this year we are excited to be able to travel back to the U.S.A. to visit friends, family and churches in California, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. We will begin on the West Coast for November and December and then make our way to the Southeast.
Celebrating the holidays back home will be particularly special this year. When we first went overseas in mission our son Joe was 2 months old. Joe has just announced his engagement to Susan Gayk, who is a nurse at the Duke University Hospitals and a native of Tennessee. Joe and Susan will be married in Durham, North Carolina, in April in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and so we are looking forward to a beautiful spring wedding. We have been perfecting our Waltz, Quickstep, Argentine Tango, Cha Cha Cha and Salsa. We want to be ready for the big day.
A letter from Marta Bennett serving in Kenya
September 30, 2014 - A Kenyan Wedding
“I’m very happy to introduce to you this morning one I call my sister-in-law,” stated Dr. Faustin Ntamushobora as he introduced me as the guest instructor to a D.Min. class at a nearby university last week. I looked at him slightly surprised, but with a smile of remembrance. Yes, indeed, I am directly related by blood to his wife, and thus to this wonderful Rwandese family I have known for almost 20 years.
A year or so after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Faustin and his family arrived in Nairobi after taking refuge in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, for several months. Once in Kenya, Faustin enrolled as a student in the master's in Christian Ministries program at Daystar University, where I was teaching at the time. One morning I arrived at my office and found a note pinned to the door. It informed me that Faustin’s wife was very sick and was at Kikuyu Hospital. Later that day three of us drove up to the hospital to visit his wife, Salome, and to pray with them. As we entered the hospital compound we met PC(USA) mission co-worker Dr. Stanley Topple, who served as a member of the medical staff there at Kikuyu. When he learned who it was we were coming to visit, he immediately became quite somber.Continue reading
A letter from Rachel Weller serving in Ethiopia
October 22, 2014 - CHE Training
I’m back. Back from Kenya; back from the Community Health Evangelism (CHE) Internship; back from Addis, where I stayed a couple weeks to see Michael and get my computer fixed. We are thankful that we have a house—not a guesthouse—to stay in there. It means minimal unpacking, knowing that there’s food in the cupboards and some in the freezer, and coffee ready to brew. We share the house with John and Gwen Haspels, who also live a bit of a mobile life as they come and go from southwestern Ethiopia where they have been working for the past couple of decades.
So we were shocked the day that John called Michael on the phone saying, “We’ve been shot!” That day Michael was driving through Addis traffic when his phone rang. He decided to answer it—he could just quickly tell John he’d call him back as soon as he pulled over. But with that greeting, everything changed. He stayed on the phone with John long enough to find out that John was driving, but could not see from one eye and the other had blood dripping into it. Shots had gone through Gwen’s lower face, so she held her own face while dabbing the blood from John’s eye so he could keep driving. Miraculously, neither of them ever fainted. Miraculously, they had their travel documents in hand. Miraculously, the phone system was working. And miraculously, everything fell into place as Michael called the various agencies, including our support system in the Louisville, to get them help at the closest hospital (four hours driving) and then evacuate them the next day to Addis and then South Africa, where they are now receiving excellent medical care.Continue reading
A letter from Cindy Morgan serving in Bangladesh
October 30, 2014 - Waiting Patiently in Expectation
Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk,
so that by it you may grow into salvation—
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
I Peter 2:2, 3
Dear Friends and Family,
When Babu was born in the northwestern city of Rajshahi last October his grandparents, concerned about his crying and doubting the sufficiency of his mother’s early milk supply, decided to supplement his feedings with infant formula. On the third day, however, when her colostrum transitioned to an abundance of milk, Babu totally refused to nurse. Having become accustomed to the free flow of an artificial nipple, her son would no longer suckle at her breast.Continue reading
Thank You and Your Family for serving God by taking His word so far from Your Home.
God is doing his work and using us a tools in other nations.during my working here in Athens i observed that there are many oppertunities to share the Gospel massage with other those do not know Jesus and we can bring them to Jesus Christ.Please prayer for me that i'm a very littel to that God is using me here in Athens Greece. God bless you.